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Exorcist: The Beginning

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This utterly pointless prequel to 1973's genuinely unnerving film about evil, The Exorcist, simply borrows the name and few cheap similarities. Ostensibly we learn how Father Merrin, the earlier film's priest, came to discover demonic possession and the power of exorcism. Having left the priesthood after the psychic rigors of World War II, Merrin (Stellan Skarsgí¥rd) pops up in Africa, where the unearthing of a 5th-century Christian temple unleashes various troubles upon the land: possessed children, savage hyenas, crazy Frenchmen, sandstorms, lame digital effects, wooden acting ... and oh hell, just about anything in this film can be chalked up to "horrible." (Two exceptions: the reliable Skarsgí¥rd and the fantastic set for the temple). Particularly unpleasant is the manner in which director Renny Harlin unnecessarily ramps up the violence enacted on children in this film. In sum, an unholy piece of crap, that needs its own exorcist right away. 1 camera

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